The Absence
Enemy Unbound


3.0
good

Review

by J. Ponton EMERITUS
September 12th, 2010 | 41 replies | 9,705 views


Release Date: 2010 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The Absence sound like The Absence here, which is basically a good thing.

Save the one-time glory ascension of Garden of Shadows with their Oracle Moon album in 2000 and ArsisA Celebration of Guilt in 2004, you will be hard-pressed to find better melodic death metal in The States than Florida’s The Absence and D.C.’s Darkest Hour. These two bands have had the job of faithfully and consistently carrying the Gothenburg traditions here for a good while now, with few bands even coming close to challenging their place on the top in the last five or six years. 2007 saw the pinnacle for The Absence and Darkest Hour with the releases of Riders of the Plague and Deliver Us for each, respectively, and as 2009’s The Eternal Return was the sound of Darkest Hour riding an easier path of consistency rather than one of innovation, this year’s Enemy Unbound sees The Absence sitting back and letting their sound do its thing.

That’s enough to indicate for you that The Absence have found a sweet spot and are just sitting in it for now, as they have for Enemy Unbound - but they aren’t being lazy. In comparison to the strength of the band’s individual tracks, “Maelstrom” is just as much a catchy number as 2007’s “Dead and Gone”, and as is evidenced for the whole of the album, the band’s thrash-influenced melodic riffs are just as strong and consistent as they were on the last time out. Vocalist Jaime Stewart remains one of the band’s essential pieces, too, his bite ever finding a likable line between Arsis’ James Malone and At The Gates’ Tomas Lindberg – i.e. an almost perfect voice for this kind of stuff.

However, and as was a point against 2007’s Riders of the Plague as well, The Absence have never been the best of songwriters – at least, when it comes to composing songs that remain memorable in the long run. This is a particular problem on Enemy Unbound, too, as while the whole of the album retains a very consistent feel, there’s not all that much here from the Florida group that will stick with you over time. The guitar and vocal melodies are strong on first listens, for example, but you’ll find that they often fail to find a spot in your head, even after several spins. The exceptions to this are the aforementioned pre-released “Maelstrom” and the title track, however, songs in which the band takes catchy and memorable riffs and places them with two of Stewart’s best vocal deliveries.

“Vengeance and Victory” is also notable with its light folk influence and for containing a slower tempo than is typical for The Absence’s aesthetic. Varying time signatures make this a real highlight for listeners, too, razorblade-sharp solos coming from guitarists Peter Josephs and Patrick Pintavalle in the second half of the song for a strong close as well. It’s the light touches in songs like this that keep Enemy Unbound from sounding like just a carbon copy of the band’s past works - even if the differences are often minimal, though. The album plays like an exercise in one of the best and most consistent blends of melodic death metal that you will find in The States, and while it is by no means a push forward for The Absence, Enemy Unbound at least keeps up with the rest of the band's albums in its level of quality: The Absence sound like The Absence here, which is basically a good thing.



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user ratings (93)
Chart.
3.3
great
other reviews of this album
Gmork89 (3.5)
The Absence return to offer you another solid helping of American Melodic Death Metal....


Comments:Add a Comment 
Zip
September 12th 2010



5312 Comments


It's about time this came out. Do you have a stream? It's not the 14th yet.

Ponton
Emeritus
September 12th 2010



5784 Comments


yes, it was put in a news post last week

http://www.sputnikmusic.com/news.php?newsid=15340

Zip
September 12th 2010



5312 Comments


Cool thanks

rasputin
September 12th 2010



14518 Comments


Save the one-time glory ascension of Garden of Shadows with their Oracle Moon album in 2000 and Arsis’ A Celebration of Guilt in 2004, you will be hard-pressed to find better melodic death metal in The States than Florida’s The Absence and D.C.’s Darkest Hour.


stopped reading after this. none of those bands/albums are any good except for oracle moon.



gaslightanthem
September 12th 2010



5209 Comments


omg rasputing ur such an elitist a-hole why don u go remove that stick from yr butt goddamn stop dooming

Oceans
September 12th 2010



934 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Actually Darkest Hour is good and so is Arsis's Celebration of Guilt so your statement is null.

rasputin
September 12th 2010



14518 Comments


arsis' celebration of guilt is average at best and darkest hour have never been good perhaps you should just stick with your shitty metal instead of attempting to sound like you know anything

Oceans
September 12th 2010



934 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

how does an average album get a 4 rating on this website

porch
September 12th 2010



8452 Comments


lol

Wizard
September 12th 2010



19244 Comments


Agreed with rasp. Arsis have never written anything good tbqh.

Great review and will probably skip this release over.

Digging: Cloak of Altering - Plague Beasts

Crysis
Staff Reviewer
September 12th 2010



16264 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Because this site has fucked up opinions on things A Celebration Of Guilt is painfully boring, same with Darkest Hour. This band is ok but I've really lost interest in them. Nice review Jared.

Digging: Ulver - Bergtatt

rasputin
September 12th 2010



14518 Comments


how does an average album get a 4 rating on this website


hahahahahaha

your reasoning is based on the sputnik users' average rating?

hahahahahahahaha

rasputin
September 12th 2010



14518 Comments


omg rasputing ur such an elitist a-hole why don u go remove that stick from yr butt goddamn stop dooming


can never stop dooming kane WORSHIP TILL DEATH

gaslightanthem
September 12th 2010



5209 Comments


lol

Wizard
September 12th 2010



19244 Comments


rasp, you're elitism hurts my ears, why the fuckz duntz you justz leave us average joes alone?????

Hawks
September 12th 2010



34628 Comments


I still love Riders of the Plague. I'll need to give this one some listens.

Digging: Equilibrium - Erdentempel

Metalstyles
Staff Reviewer
September 12th 2010



8318 Comments


Good review Jared. I'll get around to this in some point, though probably not right away.

Ponton
Emeritus
September 12th 2010



5784 Comments


Thanks, magnus, karl, and kyle. If you liked their other stuff, Hawks, you should enjoy this a lot

TheFantasticDangler
September 12th 2010



1150 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

good review, pos

jingledeath
September 12th 2010



7104 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Bored the fuck outta me but I'll still give this a few more listens cause I used to like the band a lot.



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